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  • Writer's pictureBonnie Coffey

Skunked in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico

Updated: Jun 3, 2019

Have you ever been pickled? As in 11-0? Can that also be considered a skunk? We got skunked in a different way In Mazatlán. If you’ve been following along with our blog, you already know that there was a fair contingent of players in San Miguel de Allende, there were less players in Chapala, but great competitors, and there was only one player in Rincon de Guayabitos, but he was a good, fun player.

We arrived in Mazatlan, a bustling town with a population of almost 700,000 people. We had played on some local courts on our way down south in early April, and back then, there were about 15, mostly American players still in town. There were three multipurpose courts, bounded by city streets, with short nets they set up to keep balls from rolling in to the streets (sometimes).

Additionally there was one fenced tennis court with pickleball lines. The group there was friendly and fun, and they had one of the more unusual methods of determining the playing partners and orders that we have seen. For open play they used numbered poker chips. After each 12 minutes of timed play, everyone stopped and chose a new poker chip. The numbers on the chips dictated where you played your next game and with whom as every position on the courts was numbered.

There have been plenty of discussions on the Pickleball Forum on Facebook (great group hosted by Aspen Kern) about different methods and the pros and cons of each way of partnering up, and every style has its detractors. At this court, their method seemed to work for them. The games were fun, all rec play, and we circulated around to play with everyone.

On our return trip through Mazatlan however, it was a different story. After trying to contact a few people who contacted a few more people on our behalf (thanks for your efforts), we were alas, skunked. We couldn’t find anyone in advance to play with us! Now if we didn’t take showers between playing days, I might understand, but we don't smell that bad. Seemed that everyone who knows anything about pickleball had skipped town.

El Cid is an extremely large gated community of about 3,000 homes and condos, that also has it’s name on four distinctive hotels in the Golden Zone of Mazatlan. The community is very safe due to continuous vigilance at the gates and roving guards on golf carts. The country club boasts a beautiful golf course, many tennis courts, a well appointed gym, a sparkling lap pool, spa, wonderful restaurant and bar, and of course for us, the most important requisite amenity, pickleball courts. And..., all of this is across the street from a row of hotels on pristine beaches with perfect sand castle building sand, and water warm enough for me to swim in (which is saying a lot since I'm a cold water wimp!)

We had chosen our lodging from Airbnb based on proximity to the three dedicated pickleball courts in El Cid. Our home for two nights was located inside those gates and it was an awesome place within walking distance to the courts and the beach.

The morning after checking in, we walked to the courts, hoping to find other players there, but alas, it was a desolate place. We went to the pro shop to get the details on playing from the customer service representative in charge of tennis and pickleball, and for me to ask permission to take drone photos.

After Miguel, the guard, unlocked the courts for us, we spent more than two hours drilling and playing full court singles, which by the way, equates to more than four hours of doubles play in my book ;-) We were exhausted and famished, so to top off a great morning, we headed to the restaurant which has impeccable service and delicious food, overlooking the lap pool. This is a place worth checking out! During the high season, there are limits on how many guests can play during open play, but courts can be reserved outside of those times. For all you destination pickleball trip planners, this would be a great place to try.

So we were sad not to make any new pickleball friends on this stage of our journey, but the beauty of being travel partners who both love pickleball is that you’re really never skunked!

If you go:

Google Maps plus code: 7G3W+GC Mazatlán, Sinaloa

Rates: Varies by time of year, annual pass, by guests of resorts, renting a court or playing open times. Contact resort for current info.

Another option and our first place to play can be found at:

Sabalo Country - Google Maps plus code: 7G7Q+W7 Mazatlán, Sinaloa

Courts are less than ideal, but nice people and inexpensive play (50 pesos)

Sabalo Country - Half the group had left and the nets were already down by the time this photo was taken. Thanks for letting us play with you!

Happy pickling from Mazatlán!

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